Hillary Clinton won more support among Nevada caucus-goers on Saturday, but the Obama campaign will likely end up with more actual delegates. Clinton drew significant support from Latino caucusers, despite a controversial lawsuit that was rejected by a court Thursday. Defended by both Hillary and Bill, the suit had tried to make it more difficult for casino workers, many of them Latino, to caucus.
It was thought that many casino workers would turn out to support Barack Obama because the state’s largest union, the culinary workers, had endorsed him. Ironically, Clinton cleaned up at the so-called at-large casino caucuses.
Ultimately the defeat of the lawsuit was the best thing that could have happened to Clinton’s campaign.
Delegates are awarded differently based on the size of precincts. Obama won more delegates overall, although the count won’t be official until county delegates elect state delegates who, in turn, elect national delegates. For more on caucus intricacies, read Bill Boyarsky’s take on the process.
Mitt Romney, the only Republican to put much of an effort into Nevada, won his party’s contest.
Obama’s campaign argued that the outcome in Nevada was a shared victory and laid claim to 13 delegates, compared with 12 for Clinton, because of the way his support was distributed around the state. Obama aides also complained of what they said were voter-suppression tactics. “We’re not treating this as a loss,” said senior adviser David Axelrod. “We’ll keep letting them spin the victories, and we’ll keep taking the delegates.” Obama left the state without delivering a concession speech, and his campaign sent messages to supporters heralding the edge in delegates.
Clinton officials rejected the delegate claim out of hand, arguing that the count has not been finalized.
The debate over the details of delegate allotment reflected the growing intensity of the competition. After three contests in as many weeks, Clinton and Obama are still struggling for the upper hand in the race for the nomination, neither having gained sustained momentum as they have struggled through a series of fierce back-and-forths.